The Franklin County Board of Elections came to a stalemate Aug. 24 on whether an initiative to modify Grandview Heights' Goodale Boulevard Green Space Overlay District will be on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The matter now will be decided by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.
Although more than enough signatures were collected by proponents of the initiative to place the measure on the ballot, city administration filed an objection and requested the board of elections remove it. Grandview City Council was not involved in the protest.
Board of elections members Michael Sexton and Kimberly Marinello voted in favor of placing the initiative on the ballot. Douglas Preisse and Brad Sinnott voted against allowing the measure to proceed.
State law calls for issues resulting in a tie vote by a county board of elections to be forwarded to the secretary of state, said Aaron Sellers, public information officer for the Franklin County Board of Elections.
The board has 14 days to send the tie vote to the secretary of state, which would be Sept. 6, Sellers said.
"We will send the resolution, minutes and briefs from both sides that made up the tie vote," he said.
"In essence, (the secretary of state) will be serving as the tie-breaking vote," Sellers said. "Because of the timeliness of this issue, it's likely a decision will be coming fairly soon."
Early voting for the November election will begin Oct. 10.
The existing Green Space Overlay District covers all lots on the north side of Goodale Boulevard between Broadview Avenue and Wyandotte Road and lots on the south side of Goodale between Grandview Avenue and Lincoln Road.
All properties in the district must have a minimum front yard of 100 feet and a minimum side yard of 25 feet.
The initiative would create a new ordinance to set a minimum front yard of 200 feet on the north side of Goodale between Urlin Avenue and Wyandotte Road. The minimum front-yard requirement would be 150 feet on Stonegate Village Drive.
The measure would prohibit any building from being constructed inside the minimum setbacks.
The board of elections' failure to come to a decision was disappointing, said Jody Oster, one of the leaders of the effort to get the green-space initiative to the ballot.
"It is what it is," she said. "We're hopeful the secretary of state will look at both sides' arguments and make a decision based on the merits of each side's position. We think our argument is correct and this should be allowed to proceed to the voters."
If Husted rules against allowing the initiative to go forward, Oster said her group will consider appealing to the Ohio Supreme Court.
"We would be asking the court to order the board of elections to allow the initiative to proceed to the ballot, which is what we believe they are obligated to do," she said.
Grandview Mayor Ray DeGraw said he is taking a wait-and-see approach to the situation.
"It ended up a tie vote and will go to the secretary of state and he'll make a decision and we'll see where it goes from there," he said.
DeGraw said he wasn't sure whether the administration would appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court if Husted decides the initiative should be on the ballot.
Supporters of the initiative have created a website, joingrandview.com, to provide residents information about the green space overlay initiative and other issues in the city, Oster said.
"We'll be addressing other matters that will be coming up in the city in the near future," she said.